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Why I Love Khan Academy

Friday, April 12, 2013

I'm a huge fan of anything that helps me understand science in a visual way and +Khan Academy is probably one of the best tools I've found for studying a variety of subjects (most notably the dreaded chemistry & physics).
I have a really hard time understanding concepts just by reading the textbook and taking notes in lecture but having someone draw out a picture or a diagram helps me absorb the information so much better. For me, using Khan Academy is like that part in the Matrix where Neo gets plugged in and starts downloading information directly into his brain and five seconds later he's like...I KNOW KUNG FU. Literally, that is how I feel when I watch these videos because suddenly I get nucleophilic aromatic substitution or the steps of the glycolytic pathway or whatever it is I'm trying desperately to figure out and I understand it in a way I never did before. I'm like a cartoon character with a bright lightbulb suddenly going off above my head (can you tell I'm a science nerd?).
Khan Academy is great because the videos go very slowly and everything is written out so you can see exactly what they're talking about. They break everything down, begin with the smallest, easiest concepts and build up to the harder parts. You can stop and pause or rewind as you wish so you can learn at your own pace. Also, and this might just be me, the instructor has an incredibly friendly/calming voice so I get less frustrated when I don't understand simple harmonic motion (ugh physics).
Because I won't do as good a job explaining the genius behind the system, here is a Ted Talk featuring Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy. It's really interesting to hear him talk about designing teaching to better mesh with an individual student's learning style. He's such a proponent of new and innovative ways to teach and because everyone processes information differently I think it's vital to develop new methods of education instead of just taking a traditional approach and funneling everyone into the same curriculum.
If you're interested in using the videos for yourself check them out here, they're FREE to the public (!) and there are thousands of videos on 25+different subjects.
*Just a note - while I find that they're incredibly helpful, they are not necessarily comprehensive so it's better to use them as a study aid instead of as a replacement for textbooks/lectures if you are taking a college-level course.


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